5 Songs to Hear This Week: Teezo Touchdown + Janelle Monáe, Vanishing Twin, Hataali

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Teezo Touchdown nails the look. Photo by Renae "iironic" Wootson.

Hey! Did you know that there’s an entire aspect of KCRW music discovery that you might be missing out on? Fear not, because our 5 Songs to Hear This Week newsletter is now a weekly feature on our website. Watch this space for rundowns of the five songs that you need in your life immediately, curated by KCRW Music staff. Don’t want to wait for your latest taste of fresh tunes? Sign up for the Friday newsletter here, and always be the first to know.

Teezo Touchdown – "You Thought (Feat. Janelle Monáe)” 

Here’s one to get you up and at ‘em in the morning — but careful, it might give you whiplash. From the click, the LA-by-way-of-Beaumont, Texas rapper-singer hits the ground running, his flow nonchalantly keeping pace with a drum major beat over reggae strums that give way to metal riffs. But just when you think he’s tough as the nails in his ‘do, Teezo relents into a confessional croon that grasps at a fraught relationship. Add Janelle Monáe into the mix for call-and-response vocals that bring the track to a halting conclusion, with no resolution. 

With co-signs from the likes of Tyler, The Creator, Lil Yachty, and Drake, Teezo’s one to watch: His debut album How Do You Sleep At Night? is out now. 

Hataałii – “Midnight Soldier”

Look, the word “troubadour” gets thrown around a lot, but artists like Hataałii are for whom it was coined. Born Hataałiinez Wheeler via Window Rock, Arizona, Hataałii — Navajo for “to sing” — is here to regale you with sleazy, nihilistic surf-country for the aftertimes. “Midnight Soldier” is addled with the kind of restless, meandering energy its title suggests, treading a path evocative of Lou Reed and Tom Verlaine but headed in a direction as unpredictable as it is entirely Hataałii’s own.

Vanishing Twin – “Afternoon X”

We love a good understated rhythm section to carry a tune. On “Afternoon X,” a slinking bassline and bristling, filtered synths unfurl into jazz-pop psychedelia as singer Cathy Lucas (Fanfarlo) ping-pongs her breathy vocals across an ever-expanding space. Hop in the car, take the subway, or hit the pavement — whatever your preferred method of transport, this one’s best enjoyed in motion. 

“Afternoon X” is just a taste of the London trio’s forthcoming fourth album of the same name, due out October 6th. Fun fact: The band's name refers to Lucas’ twin who was absorbed in the womb during pregnancy. 

Bas Jan – “At the Counter”

Like the transition from summer into fall, this track from experimental post-punks Bas Jan straddles the bright and the brooding: Violin loops and sunny synths float atop an icy bassline and motorik drums. Don’t be fooled by singer Serafina Steer’s detached pop delivery — the lyrics cast a penetrating gaze on modern life that’ll have you bundling up for existential seasons ahead. 

“At the Counter” comes in anticipation of the London trio’s Back to the Swamp LP (due out November 10th via Fire Records); till then, do yourself a favor and dive into their slept-on second album Baby U Know, re-released in March for your discovery pleasure. 

Wilderado – “In Between”

Let’s get lackadaisical. Tulsa indie-Americana outfit Wilderado are here to lull you into dog-day summer sunsets and the temporal ennui that comes with shorter days and warmer breezes. Crack a cold one and cozy up to the sweet harmonies and unhurried twangs of “In Between,” an impeccably timed ode to the fleeting present.